TEMPE, Ariz. -- Goals were scored, punches were thrown, and penalties were handed out in bulk. Friday's night game at Oceanside Ice Arena had all the hallmarks of a rivalry game between Arizona State and Arizona, including the oft-repeated end result.
For the 37th consecutive time in the series, dating back to February of 2009, the Sun Devils defeated their hated in-state rivals.
In a game marked by hard hits and filled penalty boxes, ASU used a late first period surge to power their way to a 5-0 victory over the Wildcats. Senior Troy Scott, playing in his final home series as a Sun Devil, scored three goals to pace ASU, while goalie Robert Levin picked up his sixth shutout of the year to deny UofA any hope of breaking the streak.
Arizona's comeback efforts were undone by a horrible night by their special teams. The Wildcats gave up two shorthanded goals and had three power plays were cut short by penalties, thereby defusing any chance of a comeback against a stingy Sun Devils defense.
The game opened with both teams mounting strong offensive pushes, but both Levin and UofA goalie Garrett Patrick were up to the tasks. In fact, it took a flukey play late in the first period that ended the stalemate.
ASU defenseman Jordan Young fired in a shot from the blueline that sailed over Patrick, but a funky hop off of the end boards bounced right off the torso of a charging Scott and in for the opening goal.
Arizona came back strong after the goal, and was on a power play in the final minute of the period, but ASU captain Colin Hekle managed to score his third shorthanded goal of the year with just 26 seconds left. That goal had a visibly deflating impact on the Wildcats.
That frustration played a factor in a raucous second period.
Early on, Sun Devil defenseman Brett Prechel received a five-minute major for spearing and was ejected with a game misconduct. That apparent five-minute power play seemed to give UofA a great opportunity to get back into the game, but Arizona's Michael Ferreira received a slashing penalty early on in the man advantage.
In the ensuing 4-on-4, Kale Dolinski buried a Danny McAuliffe rebound past Patrick to extend the lead to 3-0.
Not long after that goal, the brawl that seemed to be brewing throughout the night erupted. After the ice chips had settled, ASU's Eric Rivard went to the box for 14 minutes thanks to a pair of minors and a misconduct, and was joined by teammate Ryan Ostertag for two minutes. Two Wildcats went to the box with minors, but their ensuing power play was cut short by a penalty.
After the fireworks of the second period, the officials did a better job of keeping the teams in check, but Arizona couldn't contain Scott. He struck again eight minutes into the final period, putting back the rebound from a Young slapshot for the goal.
It looked like it would be a 4-0 final until the final minute.
Dolinski gained possession at the ASU blueline and initiated a 2-on-1 break with Scott on the right win. Just inside the UofA circles, Dolinski's perfect pass found Scott's blade, and the wristshot was true, giving Scott the hat trick.
Levin, already the ACHA leader in save percentage and goals-against average, made all 20 saves to notch a share of the ACHA shutout lead with six. He improves to 16-1-0 on the year. Patrick, who played a quality game in his own right, made 34 saves in falling to 6-8-0.
These teams will square off again on Saturday night in ASU's final home game of the year, with a 7:30 start time.
1st - ASU, 6:46: Scott (6), assists Young, Jantzie
1st - ASU, 0:26: Hekle (20) Shorthanded
2nd - ASU, 11:07: Dolinski (18), assists McAuliffe, Newmeyer
3rd - ASU, 12:41: Scott (7), assists Young, Cummings
3rd - ASU, 0:41: Scott (8), assist Dolinski Shorthanded